Christian Life and Growth - Provision Through Prayer

Steve Viars December 31, 1999

Provision Through Prayer
One way to gauge the quality of a relationship is to examine the communication between the two persons involved.  First, there’s the issue of amount.  If you love someone, you will want to speak with them regularly.  Secondly, there’s the matter of sacrifice.  If the person lives far away and you have to pay long distance phone charges to speak to them, you don’t mind making the sacrifice because of the value you place on your relationship with the person.  Thirdly, there’s the issue of quality.  You follow careful principles of communication with that person because you want the way you speak together to build the relationship and make it better.

While all of this is true of your relationships with other human beings, it is especially true of your relationship with God.  The way you pray reveals much about your view of Him.  Our Lord’s disciples understood this principle so well that they came to Jesus and said; “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).  In this study, we will seek to learn how to grow in this important area of our Christian lives.

I.   Five Basic Hindrances To Prayer:


A. "I don't take the time."
God created us, saved us, loves us, and desires our fellowship in prayer that He might meet our needs.
1. What does I Thes. 5:17 say about this? 
 

God wants us to have a constant, prayerful attitude so that at any time we would be able to speak to Him in close fellowship. Instead of growing weary or discouraged, we need to pray. (See Lk. 18:1.)
2. What does Jas. 4:2 say about prayer? 
 
3. What is God's attitude toward our prayers according to Prov. 15:8,29?  ______________
 
Andrew Murray said, "There is so much talk about lack of time and many distractions that the deep guilt of not praying is often not recognized."
B. "I lack a clear conscience."
1. When will the Lord not hear us (Ps. 66:18)? 
 
2. What can hinder our prayers according to I Pet. 3:7?
 

3. What kind of heart is necessary as we pray (Heb. 10:22)?
 

4. Unconfessed sin will hinder our fellowship and prayer life.  If possible, confess sins to those you have offended.  Note the content of the following verses:
a. I Jn. 1:9 
 

b. Matt. 5:23-26
 

"Confession" means to agree with God that our actions or attitudes are sin and to ask His forgiveness for them. We also need to ask the forgiveness of those we offend (if possible).

5. What does Matt. 6:14,15 say regarding a forgiving heart toward others?

C. "I ask amiss."
1. How does Jas. 4:3 explain "asking amiss?" 
 
Sometimes the things we want may not be best for us, but God promises to supply our needs.

2. What does He promise to supply in Phil. 4:19? 
 

3. We need to look to Christ for an example.  Read Matt. 26:39,42 and describe the attitude we should have as we pray.
 

D. "I pray in the wrong name."

1. What is required of us as we pray (Jn. 14:13)?
 
 

2. What does God desire for us as we receive answers to prayer (Jn. 16:24)? 
 
 

As believers, we may draw on the riches of God’s grace in Jesus' name.

 


E. "I do not believe God."
1. What is Christ's promise to us in Matt. 7:7,8?
 
 

2. What does I Pet. 3:12 say about our prayers to God?
 
 

3. According to Jas. 1:6,7 what attitude must we have as we pray? 
 
 

"Doubting" means to desire God to remove the pressure of the trial before learning His lessons for us. God wants to meet our needs rather than our wants.

4. What is required as we pray according to Mk. 11:22-24? 
 

II. Five Basic Parts To Prayer:


A. Praise
Jesus taught His disciples to begin prayers with "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name" (Matt. 6:9).  As we come to God in prayer, we need to recognize and praise Him for His divine attributes.
Read the following psalms of praise, and use them as aids to your prayers to God:
Psalms 8, 19, 24, 29, 33, 47, 65, 66, 77, 93, 95, 96, 97, 99, 104, 111, 113, 114, 115, 139, 147, and 150.

B. Confession

1. What does the word "confession" mean?  (See I,B,4.)
 
 
Remember: "Confession" means to agree with God that our actions or attitudes are sin and to ask His forgiveness for them.

2. Describe David's attitude in Ps. 139:23,24. 
 
God knows our hearts. As believers there is only one sin that He will not forgive, and that is an unconfessed sin.
The Holy Spirit uses God's Word to search our hearts. We must confess those actions and attitudes that are contrary to His Word, request His grace to put off the sin in the future, and determine to put on godly actions and attitudes to please God.

C. Thanksgiving
1. Read I Thes. 5:18 and write it here in full.
 
 

2. According to Eph. 5:20, how often should we give thanks to God?  
 

D. Supplication for Others
"Supplication" signifies requesting, begging, beseeching, or voicing a need.

1. What does Eph. 6:18 emphasize? 
 

2. What does Phil. 4:6,7 tell us to do? 
 

3. Prayer lists:
a. List those for whom it is your responsibility to pray, and number them according to priority or responsibility (spouse, children, parents, sisters and brothers, pastors, teachers, missionaries, etc.).
b. Pray for your immediate family daily.  Divide up extra family members throughout the week.
c. List unsaved people and pray for their salvation.
d. Pray for your Adult Bible Fellowship class and church family members.

E. Supplication for Yourself
Ask yourself this question: "What is the greatest need that God sees in my life?"
Pray that God would help you to become more like Jesus Christ in specific areas, habits, and attitudes. List particular personal needs, and apply God's Word daily.


III. Three Principles For Public Prayer:


A. Do not pray to impress others.  (See Matt. 6:5-8.)
B. Pray clearly enough so that others can say "amen" with you.  (See I Cor. 14:16.)
C. Public prayers in the Bible are usually short and of general concern to the group.  Be considerate of others.
Prayer works; prayer is work; prayer causes work!
"The world seeks better methods while God is seeking better men and women of prayer!" --E.M. Bounds
"Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, unto Him be the glory..." (Eph. 3:20, 21).

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video